Johnstown member Isabella (Bella) Oliveras is a poet. She penned the following poem after the membership assembly in October, reflecting on the importance of women leaders in our movement, particularly the legacy of Mother Jones and Johnnie Tillmon, who Bella recognized as advocates and leaders. We read Tillmon’s 1972 essay “Welfare is a women’s issue” together at the assembly. Mother Jones is a key foremother in the legacy of movements and movement leaders that influence Put People First.

What it means to be a vibrant woman

To be bold and to stand up for what she believes in.

To dare to speak the truth and show respect where it’s due.

To be loved and be appreciated for who she is.

To know right from wrong.

To be a teacher and be a achiever.

To be a caretaker and to be a friend.

She’s a fighter, believer, lover and supporter but above all she’s a vibrant woman.

2016100695180653951476922304530Bella calls us to action, and she implores us to keep fighting until everyone has their basic needs met, including healthcare. Now, Bella is crowdfunding for a much-needed motorized wheelchair and healthcare. We can join together and help Bella get the care that she needs but that the current system won’t give her.

Bella is a veteran and a former nurse and paramedic. She has several chronic illnesses and health conditions, including carpal tunnel and asthma, which make her manual wheelchair difficult to use. Her GoFundMe reads, “Insurance will not approve Bella’s dire need for a motorized wheelchair despite a clear and justified case for it.” Bella also has “ongoing additional medical expenses and current needs related to wheelchair adjustments, significant dental work, and assistance with medical fees i.e. cost-prohibitive medication.”

To pledge your support to Bella, go to Help Bella Bounce Back!

Leave a Reply